Some may have seen reports over the weekend that PA is on a list of “Facilities with [COVID-19] Cases and Exposures” in Minnesota. School buildings on the list have “5 or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in students or staff who were in the building while infectious during a two-week reporting period…. School buildings listed may not have ongoing transmission. School buildings that have not reported a new case for 28 days will be removed.”

I want to offer a few considerations that should counter any impression that reported data suggest a COVID-19 or virus-transmission problem at PA.

PA offers its own publicly accessible COVID-19 Dashboard with up-to-date information on cases in our community. The school works carefully with the Minnesota Department of Health in case confirmation, and in following protocols with “close contacts.” The school currently has one “active case.” Below, I offer deeper analysis of PA’s experience to date.

  • The PA community has seen 6 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases thus far this school year, experiencing its first case 4 weeks ago. “The PA community” is defined as the 900+ students, teachers, staff members, and coaches who have daily access to our building and school programs.

  • Aside from 2 of the 6 cases being siblings, there is no connection among them.

  • There is no evidence than any of our confirmed cases was contracted at school or in a school-related activity.

  • The number of community members who have been quarantined as “close contacts,” and have by now returned to school, is 74. The range of school days spent by quarantined students at home on SimulClassroom is 3 to 10, averaging 5 to 7. Of those 74 “close contacts”, 0 contracted COVID-19.

  • None of PA’s confirmed COVID-19 cases have been “serious,” if by serious is meant severity beyond what is generally experienced with seasonal colds and flus. PA has received similar reports about the virus’s effect on other members of PA households who have contracted COVID-19.

Providence Academy’s COVID-19 spread-prevention protocols are, so far, working. There has been no spread, no evidence of community transmission. This does not mean that tomorrow or next month there won’t be cases of person-to-person contagion in the PA community. But as of now, none at all. With all of the protocols PA is following, its abundance of space, cutting-edge HVAC system, first-rate nursing, etc., this is very good news. Now into our ninth week of the school year, when it comes to COVID-19, I find it hard to imagine a safer place to be than at Providence Academy.

Fully 90% of our community has not yet needed to be asked to be at home for any length of time for COVID-19 precautionary reasons. For those who have needed to be asked, we thank you for your kind and understanding cooperation. Our “in school 5 days a week” plan continues apace, with alternative plans remaining in reserve should they become compelling at some point. But, so far so good!